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Diocese to check with Shoreham on interest in St. Genevieve

SHOREHAM — Leaders of the Burlington Catholic Diocese continue to consider the fate of St. Genevieve Church, and will now see if the town of Shoreham might have a use for the venerable, 143-year-old building at 3167 Route 22A, at the junction with Route 74 West.
Bishop Christopher Coyne late last month was expected to recommend whether St. Genevieve should remain open or close, and potentially be taken down. The church — which is open for weekly Saturday mass during May through October — is in need of major repairs to its foundation and choir loft, as well as new stained-glass windows. The extent of needed repairs, coupled with a shrinking congregation, have prompted Catholic Church leaders to consider closing and perhaps even removing the building.
Parishioners dedicated to St. Genevieve have in recent weeks infused new energy and offerings at their place of worship — including food and clothing charities for those in need — in an effort to convince the Burlington Diocese to keep it open.
Their efforts might be paying dividends.
Father Luke Austin, who leads the congregations of St. Mary’s Church in Middlebury, St. Bernadette in Bridport and St. Genevieve, noted the following entry in last weekend’s edition of the St. Genevieve-St. Bernadette Church bulletin:
“Bishop Coyne is still in the information-gathering stage about the future of St. Genevieve. He has received letters from residents in Shoreham and elsewhere, including non-Catholics, asking if the building can serve a municipal purpose. He has asked Father Luke to approach the town of Shoreham about this possibility. At the same time, a more in-depth facilities analysis may be done for both St. Genevieve and St. Bernadette. The Bishop’s overall concern remains that we not pour money into buildings for the sake of maintaining buildings, but rather ask: What buildings and resources are necessary for our mission?”
In an email, Father Luke indicated he’d seek a meeting with the Shoreham selectboard in January.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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